Coldest morning in the Northeast in decades

- It’s FRIGID in the Northeast.  While many of us hearty Minnesotans typically scoff at that statement and are quick to point out that “frigid” weather for the Northeast is another typical winter day in the Upper Midwest, this time you might be singing a different tune.  Temperatures dipped to levels not seen in decades across the Northeastern US Sunday morning as Arctic air surged southward.  Temperatures were even below zero along the coast from New York City to Boston to Maine with teens, 20s, and 30s below zero in the more mountainous spots inland.  Binghamton, New York nearly tied their all-time record low of -20° and Watertown was the regions coldest at -37°.  Let’s face it, even the metro has a tough time getting to the 30s below zero.  While -9° doesn’t sound that bad in Boston, they haven’t been that cold in almost 60 years.  Combine that with winds gusting over 30 mph, and wind chills were close to 40 below zero in the city and nearly 50 below in other parts of the region.  Even us hearty Minnesotans would have a tough time walking around in that.  So why the unusual cold?  Well, this air comes straight out of the North Pole…

This is what we call reverse trajectory fluid dynamics.  We can take the air mass that’s overhead right now and work backwards to figure out where it came from.  The above chart is the air mass currently over Boston.  Follow the lines and it points straight to the North Pole barely 3 days ago.  Boston isn’t the only one getting records.  It was below zero in New York City for the first time since 1994 and one of barely 50 occasions since records began back in the 1870s… check out all of their below zero dates…

Unlike typical Minnesota cold snaps, which can last for days or even weeks, theirs will be over quite quickly.  In fact, with a surge of warmer air coming up from the Southeast early Tuesday, it could FEEL LIKE it’s nearly 80° warmer in Boston and New York City come Tuesday as wind chills go from the 30s below zero to potentially the 50s.  Craziness!

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